WJWA
CityEvansville, Indiana
Frequency91.5 MHz
BrandingWAY-FM
Programming
FormatChristian Adult Contemporary
Ownership
OwnerWay FM Media Group
(Way Media, Inc.)
History
Former call signs
WEVC (1951-1977)
WUEV (1977-2019)
Technical information
Facility ID69106
ClassB1
ERP6.1 kilowatts
HAAT46 meters (151 ft)
Translator(s)100.1 MHz W261CW (Evansville)

WJWA is an FM Radio station in Evansville, Indiana located at 91.5 MHz. It is a noncommercial station owned and operated by Way FM Media Group, broadcasting their WAY-FM Network programming.

History

Occupying Room 301 in Olmsted Administration Building for its entire run, WJWA was first known as WEVC when it was built in 1950. Before that time, Evansville College maintained a radio broadcasting program through an agreement with 1280 WGBF, a local radio station. On March 31, 1951, WEVC went onto the air for the first time at 10 watts, monaural, at 91.5 MHz. It ran programming two hours a day, five days a week. By 1975, stereo equipment was purchased by a benefit held at Mesker Amphitheatre in Evansville featuring Ted Nugent.

On January 1, 1977, WEVC became WUEV to reflect the new University of Evansville name (The Buzzard (aka) "Skipper T." Spence, along with, then, director; Dr. Gil Clarity announced the change at midnight). By 1984, WUEV had increased power from 3000 to 6100 watts and was renovated in 1988. Programming shifted over the years to reflect a more progressive format, and the station continued to serve the needs of the Evansville community and UE students.

Through the help of an Ameritech Innovations grant in the winter of 1996, Len Clark and Phil Bailey, then the General Manager and Chief Engineer at WUEV respectively, established the Internet Center at WUEV to stream the terrestrial signal heard in Evansville to the world. A Xing Streamworks encoder and server were procured and installed, and the audio lines from the control studio were run into a little-used back corner of the WUEV newsroom. WUEV simulcasted for the first time on January 16, 1996.

On July 30, 1997, WUEV opened the Harlaxton Bureau at Harlaxton College, Lincolnshire, England. Shortly thereafter, Harlaxton Bureau correspondents covered the death of Princess Diana and were subsequently recognized by the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists.

By the fall of 1998, WUEV had purchased and installed additional streaming equipment and started research into branding and educational uses for streaming media technology. On hand in the fall of 1998 were:

The Internet gave WUEV great opportunities to share many things to the world. WUEV carried the World Radio Network signal from WRN-1, North America, during the early morning hours and into the early afternoon. Before the noon news, the station operator at the time would spool up one of several pre-recorded syndicated shows. After the noon news, on-air talent would take over until 1 or 2 a.m., when the station operator would switch back to WRN-1. Thus, anyone listening to WUEV in the late 1990s could hear anything from progressive rock to metal, from jazz to hip-hop, news to sports, anywhere in the world.

Before the launch of the Internet Center, the only source for University of Evansville Men's basketball coverage was local sources inside Evansville, particularly Adam Alexander on WKDQ. Evansville basketball was not broadcast anywhere outside of the area. WUEV did not air UE basketball through their terrestrial signal at that time, either. But, they could carry basketball on the internet. A DR-10 telephone switcher was purchased and wired into the Internet Center by Bailey, so that Clark and the field broadcast team could call the UE toll-free number, reach the proper extension, and switch the internet broadcast signal from the control room's input line to a Marti or Comdex input line. Listeners could now "tune in" to the internet broadcast. When the game was over, someone would call back and switch the signal back to the terrestrial feed.

With WUEV's new foray into the world of internet radio, Clark made a key partnership with the Missouri Valley Conference to offer a sports broadcasting workshop in conjunction with the annual conference Men's Basketball Tournament in St. Louis, MO. Students from the MVC schools would do the play-by-play and color while their teams were on the floor at the tournament.

At the same time, WUEV engineers investigated new ways of bringing the experience to the Internet listener. Webcams were purchased and taken to every home basketball game. It was little more than a half-court shot of the action due to the bandwidth, but it was progress towards something new. A Diamond Rio MP3 player was purchased and taken to every remote broadcast, and once the signal was switched from terrestrial to remote feed, Clark or the field engineer would run the commercial breaks live in the field. It became possible to run an entire broadcast from the field without the assistance of the control booth or the station.

Roughly around the spring of 2000, WUEV began to experiment with the Icecast streaming technology for the terrestrial signal by using a testbed of MP3 songs on the local server. As early as 1999, student producers at the station were using MP3 encoded songs during live sessions in the on-air studio, and attempts were made to create playlists using MusicMatch and a computer for automation. However, much was not known about the technology and hardware constraints severely limited automation until the new automation system was installed.

According to the WUEV website, broadcast facilities were upgraded from analog to digital in 2003. A full automation system was installed, and more sports broadcast equipment was purchased. By 2004, WUEV had fully moved into offering Shoutcast streaming capability and had adopted a Dell rack mount system.

WUEV was in jeopardy early in 2006 when the University of Evansville administration were recipients of an offer to buy out the station by an undisclosed bidder. The receipt of the offer was announced on 31 January 2006 in AceNotes (the University's daily email to its students, staff, faculty and other members of the university community) along with a request for reader input. This prompted concerned alumni and students to a major grassroots campaign to protest the sale of the station and its operating bandwidth. According to local sources, including the University Crescent, over 400 letters were received on the subject, with an overwhelming majority against the proposed sale. In fact, according to every news report, the University of Evansville never offered one letter that supported the sale nor provided an example of anyone stating they were in favor of the sale.

On 9 February 2006, President Stephen Jennings announced that the offer would be rejected, giving administration time to evaluate and change the way that WUEV has been managed on campus. After an unspecified time, the station would be re-evaluated for viability and options would again be considered.

In January 2009, WUEV moved from its original location in Olmsted 301 to a new home on the second floor in the new Ridgway University Center. The new station included a much larger productions studio, storage, and "The Fishbowl", the DJ booth with a large window for passers-by to view the inside of the studio. With more room, the station planned on hosting more in-studio interviews and live performances.

The station's musical format was dayparted. Overnights and daytime hours were devoted to jazz, branded as "JazzFlight." In the early evenings, current pop music was played. Later, the station went to rock or dance. On Saturdays, WUEV aired blues, and Sundays it ran Christian music. UE students program much of the broadcast day.

Sale of WUEV to WAY-FM

On May 17, 2019, the University of Evansville made what members of the Evansville community claimed to be controversial decision to sell the students' station to WAY-FM, a non-profit nationwide network that plays contemporary Christian music.[1]

UE President Chris M. Pietruszkiewicz was said to have refused to meet with UE students who objected to the sale.[2] This was an accusation made and observed publicly a number of times and never refuted by the President nor University.[3]

The community of Evansville and WUEV supporters rallied behind keeping WUEV through protests on campus and letter writing campaign.[4]

Though the University of Evansville and Vice President for Enrollment & Marketing Dr. Shane Davidson seemed to deny that a potential sale was being strongly considered in 2018,[5] the University later admitted in 2019 the decision was made over a two-year study which they previously never mentioned.[6]

The FCC finalized the transfer of WUEV's license to WAY-FM on November 25, 2019. The terrestrial signal went silent at 11 pm CST. The final song played on WUEV was "Closing Time" by Semisonic. The station began broadcasting WAY-FM programming on November 26, 2019, and changed its call sign to WJWA on December 4, 2019.

Notable WUEV alumni and staff

References

Coordinates: 37°58′23″N 87°31′48″W / 37.973°N 87.530°W / 37.973; -87.530